Please check out this provocative Washington Post essay on Barack Obama’s delicate march toward the Democratic nomination for presidency. Amina Luqman may be right: In many ways, Hillary Clinton has been able to be “more black” than Obama. The reasons why say a lot about where we are today in our nation—and the church—when it comes to negotiating the tricky role of race in our society’s social contract.
More than anything else, I think Luqman’s piece has helped me understand why Obama’s candidacy resonates with me so deeply, even if I don’t agree with all of his positions on the issues. Sure, it has something to do with his bold “post-partisan” vision and his desire to build bridges across our polarized culture. But I think what I really “feel” about Obama is this intricate dance he must do between black and white America in order to stay viable as a presidential candidate. As Luqman, who is African American, writes:
We do the same dance in our workplaces, with our supervisors, our neighbors and our college classmates. In that way we know Obama couldn’t be more like us, he couldn’t be more black.
I know I’m constantly posting about Obama, but I believe his campaign, and his story in general, reveals a lot about the state of race relations in this country—and about some of the things we will need to address on our way to true reconciliation.